DAR to finish land distribution by 2022
The Duterte administration has imposed a tall order on the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR): Finish all land acquisition and distribution (LAD) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) by 2022 or before the term of President Duterte ends.
More than three decades since the agrarian reform law was enacted during Cory Aquino’s administration, the government has yet to complete the distribution of agricultural lands to landless farmers, but Mr. Duterte’s directive is expected to bring the country finally “LAD-free.”
Under CARP, a total of 10.3 million hectares of land were mandated to be distributed over a span of 10 years. But due to bureaucratic processes, lawsuits and problems on farmers registry, among others, there are still more than 600,000 hectares (ha) of land waiting to be turned over.
Despite the challenging feat which saw the comings and goings of six administrations, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones said he was positive that the agency would achieve Mr. Duterte’s mandate.
To accomplish this, DAR has created a program dubbed “LAD Free 2022,” which will see the creation of a “well-coordinated strategy” to distribute government-owned lands, distribute collective CLOAs (certificate of land ownership award) and achieve a zero backlog in the resolution of cases related to agrarian justice.
DAR recently held a three-day national conference to properly account for the remaining land for distribution to agrarian reform beneficiaries. Strategies were also formulated to speed up LAD, including the creation of an inter-agency task force that will expedite the processing of requests to convert agricultural lands for residential, commercial and industrial use, and submit a report on the anomalies in the conversion processes.
The agency said it was also working hard to implement Executive Order 75, which orders the acquisition of all government-owned lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture but are no longer actually, directly and exclusively used for the purpose for which it has been reserved.
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